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Stress Free Escapes

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Achieving Holiday Home Happiness with little ones in tow.

With uncertainty still surrounding overseas travel this year, a large number of families with young children are opting to stay in the UK and hiring unique properties in the country, from quaint country cottages to modernist seaside retreats. Self-catering options are most certainly ‘on trend’.

Recent conversations with parents however, revealed that enthusiasm for this style of break varies widely...

“I just don’t see the point” explained one East Dulwich mother of three. Self-catering for me is too like being at home, I end up cooking, cleaning and organising - I take the brunt of the domestic drudgery albeit in a different setting. The children don’t sleep well and end up tired and cranky. Maybe we’ve been unlucky, but the cottages seem to have draughty windows and wafer-thin curtains! In summer we found the kids consistently woke incredibly early”.

“The bonus is the space though” argued another mother fresh from 7 nights in a 4 bedroomed Devon property with her toddler and young baby. We stayed in a couple of hotels towards the end of last year- we found even the alleged Family Suites to be really cramped and overpriced. It’s such a bonus to have a comfortable sitting room and proper kitchen to prepare snacks and a few meals. I love having a washing machine, very handy for any mishaps and means I rarely return home with a case full of dirty clothes.”

Below, we share some top tips to help ensure a self-catering escape doesn’t become an escapade of self-sacrifice!

When packing, roll children’s clothes as whole outfits- yes even down to the socks -into a short sausage shape. This makes it quick and easy to both store them at your destination and guarantees no hunting around for co-ordinating items.

Packing cubes and garment bags from Mujii also come highly recommended. Check out the selection here;

Pop up laundry baskets can be brought along flat in the bottom of a suitcase case. Not only are they ideal for worn clothes but also brilliant for corralling toys during speedy tidy ups. John Lewis and Dunelm both stock easy to pack versions.

Using the holiday property’s postcode, research which supermarkets deliver to your holiday address. Planning an online order on your arrival day for some of the bulk baby and child basics plus a couple of easy to prepare, crowd pleasing meals will help everyone settle quickly into their new surroundings.

Resist the urge though to over-order. A huge one-week shop is unlikely to be needed if you plan on outings and are close to a town. It’s no fun having to pack the car full of kilos of pasta and carrots at the end of your stay and unused fresh items may go to waste. It’s likely you will want to explore local markets and farm shops; they are great ways to experience regional produce and might even encourage the pickiest of children to expand their palate! They are often the source of heritage and less commonly available vegetables and fruits which, if you have started weaning your little one might make the experience even more exciting!

In addition, supporting local independent restaurants and take away options has never been more important - check out the highest rated by area using TripAdvisor or the Michelin Guide. The Michelin ‘Bib Gourmand’ award highlights those offering great food with excellent value as standard.

In terms of the property itself, ask the booking agent or property owner what is provided for children - equipment ranging from highchairs to cots along with non-slip bathmats and stairgates can often be provided free of charge on request. Any potential hazards are usually highlighted and brought to your attention upon booking but always mention the ages of your children and ask about suitability for everyone in your party.

With the parent comment regarding wafer thin holiday home curtains ringing in our ears, it’s essential to mention the Gro Anywhere Blind. This trusted essential will keep holiday home wonderfully dark. It fits directly onto the window with damage-free suckers. It’s fully open size is a huge 130x198cm, with Velcro tabs to fold down to smaller sizes quickly and easily

If your older toddler has outgrown their travel cot or older child has a tendency to roll out of bed, Dream tubes from Hippy Chick should be on your holiday shopping list. Highly portable and suitable for children aged 18 months to 5 years, the set includes a fitted sheet with channels to insert the inflatable guard tubes. This creates a cosy, safe, reassuring sleeping nook. And minimises the changes of unexpected bumps in the night!

If you think a holiday home could be just the thing for your family escape this summer, try sourcing a perfect property through these helpful links;

The perfect choice for a premium London staycation.

All regions covered including sister companies for Wales and Scotland. Stylish modern properties alongside quaint traditional cottages.

A charity which rescues important, historic buildings. Everything from the quirky to the opulent. Properties have been carefully and sensitively restored and made available for self-catering holidays. A unique stay is guaranteed!

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